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Google+ succumbs to Facebook game envy

Invaded by Zombies, Angry Birds, and Bubble 2.0 posterchild

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Google has launched a gaming platform atop its Google+ social networking service, predictably expanding its efforts to turn itself into Facebook.

The platform debuted with sixteen games from a handful of Google partners, including Zynga, the Facebook game-king that's set for a $11.5bn IPO; Rovio, maker of mobile phenomenon Angry Birds; and Kabam, a company that's being chased by an army of people who had their fake stuff deleted. Inaugural Google+ titles include Angry Birds itself, Zombie Lane, Sudoku, and Bejeweled.

In a post to the new Google+ Platform blog, engineering director David Glazer says that Google is starting with a small number of titles so it can "experiment, get the kinks out of our APIs, and get real end-user feedback before opening up to the world".

"Because we want to provide both a great user experience and a great developer experience, we’re focusing on quality before quantity," Glazer says. "We will continue to add new partners and new features in small steps, starting with today’s release of the games APIs to a small number of developers."

He also said that the games platform is the first of "many integrations" that the company will add to Google+.

Google's social-gaming ambitions are hardly a surprise. Over a year ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google was in discussions with various gaming outfits about offering titles atop a new social networking service.

The company is pushing this Facebook-style social networking because it will ultimately provide more information about the online habits and relationships of net users, and this information can then be used to target ads. ®

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